Legal Builds for Web of the Spider Queen Encounters Season

53 posts / 0 new
Last post
I'm still a newbie, especially when it comes to Char Op, but I am trying to figure out potent combinations for builds within the restrictions for Web of the Spider Queen, the next season of D&D Encounters. It turns out the other thread in this forum on the subject doesn't follow WotC's restrictions, and therefore is of no help, so I started a new one.

Basically, this season only permits you to use the Essentials books and the new Dungeon Survival Handbook or Dragon content "supporting" those books (which apparently includes Dragon 399). It also rewards you for creating a drow, dwarf, goblin, kobold, or svirfneblin character.

EDIT: I know not every DM running Encounters enforces these, but the store I play at does, which is why I am asking for help in this thread with working within the constraints.
 
So, I am trying to do something within the following parameters:
Race: Drow, Dwarf, Goblin, Kobold, or Svirfneblin* (other races from HotFK and HotFL are legal, but these are optimal)
Class: Cleric (Warpriest), Fighter (Knight), Fighter (Slayer), Rogue (Thief), Wizard (Mage), Druid (Sentinel), Paladin (Cavalier), Ranger (Hunter), Ranger (Scout), Warlock (Hexblade)
Theme: Bloodsworn*, Deep Delver*, Escape Thrall*, Trapsmith*, Treasure Hunter*, Underdark Envoy*, Underdark Outcast*, Alchemist, Chevalier, Explorer, Guardian, Guttersnipe, Knight Hospitaler, Mercenary, Noble, Ordained Priest, Outlaw, Scholar, Seer, Wizard's Apprentice
Background: Bloodsworn*, Deep Delver*, Escaped Thrall*, Trapsmith*, Treasure Hunter*, Underdark Envoy, Underdark Outcast* (Basically, the only skills you can make class skills or get the +2 on are Arcana, Athletics, Bluff, Dungeoneering, Endurance, Insight, Intimidate, History, Nature, Perception, Religion, and Stealth)
(* is stuff that is only in The Dungeon Survival Handbook, which has now been added to the character builder)

So far, my Encounters DMs have not looked that hard at feats and what-not, so it looks like beyond the Race/Class/Theme restrictions there is a good amount of freedom. Also, I think this is an opportunity to see what Char-Op folks can do with races like Kobolds and Goblins that don't normally see much love around here.

I am looking for help, so please, please post any builds you can make work, but I will post builds of my own as well (to be utterly taken apart, I am sure). Like I said, I am a newbie, so most of you all will know way better than me what works and what doesn't. These builds aren't just for me, but for other new players, and I think seeing what a low-level character can really do with the stops taken off will help sell 4E virgins on sticking with the game.

Of course, this is Encounters, so while seeing high-level stuff is educational, the only levels that will see actual play in the season are 1st-3rd, so that is where I am focusing, on characters that bring the pain in early Heroic Tier.

Thank you in advance for any help.

FYI, the exact Character Creation Guidelines are read as follows:
Show
Bring Your Own Hero to the Table

If you’re like most players, you’ll want to build your own 1st-level character to bring to D&D Encounters, using the standard character creation rules presented in the Rules Compendium, Heroes of the Fallen Lands, or Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms.


Of course, you can also use the D&D Character Builder to create your character as well.


Generate ability scores for your character using the standard array (method 1) or point buy (method 2.)


This season, you can choose character options from any of the following rules sources:





You may also use Dragon Magazine articles that support the books listed.


 

This is my first attempt at a build within these parameters. As always, input is encouraged, and even more encouraged are different builds that are better than what my meagre knowledge of the game can produce.

The goal with this build was to use the Kobold's cool racial power to shift as a minor, and leverage that into a martial controller whose mobility would allow him to go wherever he needed to optimize his ranged attacks on the battlefield.  

Show

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======

Oppum, level 3


Kobold, Ranger (Hunter)


Archery Style Option: Crossbow Hunter


Ranger Wilderness Knacks Option: Mountain Guide (Ranger)


Ranger Wilderness Knacks Option: Ambush Expertise (Ranger)


Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)


Theme: Outlaw


 


FINAL ABILITY SCORES


STR 8, CON 13, DEX 20, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 10


 


STARTING ABILITY SCORES


STR 8, CON 11, DEX 18, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 10


 


AC: 18 Fort: 13 Ref: 17 Will: 13


HP: 42 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 10


 


TRAINED SKILLS


Acrobatics +11, Athletics +5, Dungeoneering +8, Perception +8, Stealth +13, Thievery +13


 


UNTRAINED SKILLS


Arcana +1, Bluff +1, Diplomacy +1, Endurance +2, Heal +3, History +1, Insight +3, Intimidate +1, Nature +3, Religion +1, Streetwise +1


 


POWERS


Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack


Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack


Outlaw Attack: Surprise Strike


Kobold Racial Power: Shifty


Ranger Utility: Aspect of the Pouncing Lynx


Ranger Utility: Aspect of the Seeking Falcon


Ranger Attack: Disruptive Shot


Ranger Attack: Aimed Shot


Ranger Attack: Clever Shot


Ranger Attack: Rapid Shot


Outlaw Utility 2: Burst of Speed


 


FEATS


Crossbow Expertise


Sneak of Shadows


Level 2: Two-Fisted Shooter


 


ITEMS


Adventurer's Kit


Short sword


Leather Armor x1


Crossbow Bolt


Hand crossbow x2


====== End ======

I do believe Kobolds lost Shifty somewhere in the latest release of dragon or some other book.  I'm not sure exactly where it's been updated, because I'm not a subscriber anymore.
With their new Flexstats, Kobolds and Goblins could both make excellent Hexblades.

Bargle wrote:
This is CharOp. We not only assume block-of-tofu monsters, but also block-of-tofu DMs.
 

Zelink wrote:
You're already refluffing, why not refluff to something that doesn't suck?
I do believe Kobolds lost Shifty somewhere in the latest release of dragon or some other book.  I'm not sure exactly where it's been updated, because I'm not a subscriber anymore.

These are the Kobold rules from the Dungeon Survival handbook. CB hasn't been updated yet.

wizards.com/dnd/files/excerpts/dsh_excer... 
I do believe Kobolds lost Shifty somewhere in the latest release of dragon or some other book.  I'm not sure exactly where it's been updated, because I'm not a subscriber anymore.

These are the Kobold rules from the Dungeon Survival handbook. CB hasn't been updated yet.

wizards.com/dnd/files/excerpts/dsh_excer... 

Wow. They really nerfed to the crap out of that. It looks like maybe a Kobold built on mobility and ranged attacks is no longer even a desirable direction from a Char-Op perspective? Or is there a good use for this new encounter power that I am not seeing?

Also, with a kobold or goblin hexblade build, as suggested by TheMalteseFalchon is there a particularly good direction to go? Like I said, when it comes to Char-Op I am trying to learn as fast as possible, but I am still a babe in the woods.
I suspect that with that lineup of races, you are going to see a lot of Dwarves. They are by far the most well supported, and Dwarven Weapon Training is really strong at low levels.

Leader - I am a big fan of Earth Domain Warpriests, but I am not sure if they lose some of their luster when paired with a high-op party. Handing out resist 5 to all damage like a balm proved incredibly effective at keeping the party on their feet at lower levels. Moment of Glory/Stone's Resolve and Granite Shield provides a lot of options early. Pair this with Knight's Hospitaler and you have increased your party's effective hitpoints by a huge amount. Not what Char-op traditionally looks for in a leader, but with such a restricted class-list, probably the best you can do. Plus, a Dwarven priest of the earth in the Underdark? Fluffy.


Striker - Goblin Thief, Dwarf Slayer or Goblin Scout seem strong. Standard builds really. Goblin tactics might provide some positioning tricks to enable you to charge where you otherwise wouldn't, but that will require a bit of luck. Dwarf goes DWT -> Surprising Charge and relies on the inbuilt accuracy boosters Slayers get in order to charge everywhere with a Gouge. They are going to eat a lot of OAs, but the Warpriest has to earn a living somehow.

Defender - I know very little about Essentials Defenders. No help here.

Controller - Mages build themselves. I doubt that there are enough options at 1st-3rd level in order to make a hunter interesting.
For the purposes of encounters, doesn't a Warlord count as encounters legal?  If so, why wouldn't you play one in a world of nearly-everyone has great MBAs?
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Short answer Matyr, no.

Longer answer: No warlord build exists in either of the Essentials player books (heros of x), while a book that is supported for encounters might one day have a Warlord build in it (legal for that season), I don't think the DSH has one.
Short answer Matyr, no.

Longer answer: No warlord build exists in either of the Essentials player books (heros of x), while a book that is supported for encounters might one day have a Warlord build in it (legal for that season), I don't think the DSH has one.



Interesting.  The only reason I was curious is because our store has some pre-mades on those little plastic sheets and one of them is a warlord.  I guess that is why I always assumed warlords were legal.  Now I know better.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
They were part of essentials + Erachima, but they are not dragon magazine articles supporting HoFL/HoFK (with the little tag) and are not legal for Encounters.

Wait, they did a pregen for a Warlord? Nice. Then they are legal (or at least that one is). 
If I remember right, the Dungeon Survival Guide has a least one power for each class, correct?  Since the class power can not be used without the class, any articles that detail a class with a power listed in the DSG should count as supporting that book.

At the very least, this should open up Assassins as they're Dragon article content.  You could also argue that the class compendium articles count (at least in preview form) as they were in fact published in dragon, which makes them effectively dragon articles regardless of what else they may be.
Interested in a rambling collection of game ideas? Check out Schemes of the Dancing Chimera.
I'm still a newbie, especially when it comes to Char Op, but I am trying to figure out potent combinations for builds within the restrictions for Web of the Spider Queen, the next season of D&D Encounters. It turns out the other thread in this forum on the subject doesn't follow WotC's restrictions, and therefore is of no help, so I started a new one...

 

Well, my general recommendations are:

~20 in prime stat, 14(16 with 2nd racial) in secondary.  Or 18/18.

Leader: Dwarven Warpriest, Sun Domain.  20 Wis, 16 Con, spam the resist at-will.

Striker 1: Drow Thief,  20 Dex, 16 Wis.
Feat: xbow expertise.  Hand xbow.
Stay back and snipe.  Get the two tricks that make foes grant Combat Advantage (Ambush/Tactical)

Striker 2: Half-Orc Slayer.  18 Str, 18 Dex,
Feat: Cunning Stalker.  
L2 feat:  Surprising Charge
L1 use greataxe.
L2 charge everything.

Tank: Dwarf Knight.  Warhammer, Shield, Plate.  3x throwing hammers.  
Feat: Bludgeon Expertise.  If prefer Longsword, go with Heavy Blade Expertise.
L2 feat choices: Disciple of Stone, Improved Init, Improved Defenses, Swift Recovery, Dwarven Weapon Training.

Controller:
Wiz(Mage).
Enchantment: Human
Pyro: Tiefling
Int 20
Cantrips: Any 3 of 4 (I go with Light, Mage Hand, and Prestidigitation)
School: Enchantment (for control) or Pyro (blow em up). 

Enchanter
At-W 
Beguiling Strands, Freezing Burst
Encounter
Charm of Misplaced Wrath
Daily
Phantom Chasm

Pyro
At-will
Scorching Burst
Hypnotism
Encounter
Burning Hands
Daily
Flaming Sphere

Feats: 
Ench: Staff Expertise, (open)
Pyro: Superior Implement (Cinder Wand).

That is my basic setup.  Feel free to play around.  Also I did not pick themes/bg.  Don't have the new book yet so do not know how they synergize. 

And not 100% sure if they are entirely Essential-Encounters legal (Superior Implement, PH wizard powers, etc.., not up to date with all the rulings.   )
They were part of essentials + Erachima, but they are not dragon magazine articles supporting HoFL/HoFK (with the little tag) and are not legal for Encounters.

Wait, they did a pregen for a Warlord? Nice. Then they are legal (or at least that one is). 



The warlord that was made for encounters (the premade) was so terrible it isn't even funny.

Half-orc Warlord
Warlord Presence: Inspiring Presence
Theme: Firecrafter

STR 17 Con 10 Dex 11 Int 16 Wisdom 10 Cha 13

AC 17 Fort 14 Reflex 14 Will 3

At-will 1: Commander's Strike
At-will 2: Intuitive Strike
Encounter: Hammer and Anvile
Theme Power: Blazing Corona
Daily 1: Concentarted Attack

Feat 1: Born of the Elements 

Using a longsword/lightshield/chainmail

It is/was terrible.  But I wanted to know if it was encounters legal to make that character not worthless.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
I think that the most popular Leader build for this Encounters season should be a Svirfneblin Warpriest with the Earth domain and Deepstone Blessing as his initial feat.  That feat gives out a number of temporary hit points equal to Con modifier with each use of Healing Word -- so this combination is by far the best available healer.

 
I think that the most popular Leader build for this Encounters season should be a Svirfneblin Warpriest with the Earth domain and Deepstone Blessing as his initial feat.  That feat gives out a number of temporary hit points equal to Con modifier with each use of Healing Word -- so this combination is by far the best available healer.

 



Staggering Note bard sitting next to an optimized Slayer says hi?

That is a really strong statement to just say "by far the best", mind telling me what you are comparing to? 
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here


The best available healer at low levels will nearly always be the Warlord, thanks to it gaining a third encounter heal at U2. Add in that it's the Warlord, and the poor Warpriest is hardly on the map.



Assuming that one considers Warlord an available option for encounters.  I think its fairly safe to say that many DMs will not allow Warlords in the game as they aren't in the books listed.
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
I've never played an Encounters character that WAS from the books listed. I think it's fairly safe to say that many DMs don't care.



Nor I.  In fact, we were so bored with level 1s that we rolled over last seasons characters and scaled up the encounters for this last one.  I don't know if we'll do the same or not for this one.  I hope so, at least that way I can bring in the goblin arena fighter I whipped up at level 3 rather than 1

Show

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
rakanisho, level 1
Goblin, Fighter (Weaponmaster)
Unseelie Agent Starting Feature Option: Serrated pick
Fighter Option: Combat Superiority
Fighter Talents Option: Arena Training
Arena Training Option: Arena Training (Spiked shield)
Arena Training Option: Arena Training (Serrated pick)
Auspicious Birth (Auspicious Birth Benefit)
Theme: Unseelie Agent
 
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 18, CON 10, DEX 16, INT 10, WIS 13, CHA 8
 
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 18, CON 10, DEX 14, INT 10, WIS 11, CHA 8
 
 
AC: 19 Fort: 16 Ref: 16 Will: 11
HP: 33 Surges: 9 Surge Value: 8
 
TRAINED SKILLS
Athletics +6, Endurance +2, Intimidate +4
 
UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +0, Arcana +0, Bluff +1, Diplomacy –1, Dungeoneering +1, Heal +1, History +0, Insight +1, Nature +1, Perception +1, Religion +0, Stealth +2, Streetwise –1, Thievery +0
 
POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Unseelie Agent Utility: Create Shadow-Wrought Weapon
Goblin Utility: Goblin Tactics
Fighter Attack: Combat Challenge
Fighter Attack 1: Dual Strike
Fighter Attack 1: Footwork Lure
Fighter Attack 1: Surprising Stab
Fighter Attack 1: Bristling Defense
 
FEATS
Level 1: Pick Expertise
 
ITEMS
Spiked shield
Hide Armor x1
Heavy Shield x1
Serrated pick
Magic Serrated pick +1 x1
====== End ======


Stupid character builder won't equip the damned spiked shield and consider it a weapon, and the magic pick is from unseelie agent
I've never played an Encounters character that WAS from the books listed. I think it's fairly safe to say that many DMs don't care.



Just because the DMs don't care doesn't mean we should break the rules the OP is suggesting.  I'm actually rather confused that you of all people are saying this...
Currently working on making a Dex based defender. Check it out here
Show
Need a few pre-generated characters for a one-shot you are running? Want to get a baseline for what an effective build for a class you aren't familiar with? Check out the Pregen thread here If ever you are interested what it sounds like to be at my table check out my blog and podcast here Also, I've recently done an episode on "Refluffing". You can check that out here
Don't confuse Encounters with a home campaign.  If the owner of the store you're playing at says no, the answer is no regardless of how the DM feels about it.

No store owner wants to be the guy that has to explain to the Wizards rep why they aren't running the Encounters program by the rules.  It's way easier to say "sorry, customer, no Psions" than "sorry, customer, we lost our premier status."
 

INSIDE SCOOP, GAMERS: In the new version of D&D, it will no longer be "Edition Wars." It will be "Edition Lair Assault." - dungeonbastard

Just to confirm, the store I play at runs 3 tables of Encounters every Wednesday night, and we are required to abide by the published restrictions, at least at the beginning. To my experience, as the game progresses, no one looks that hard at levelling or retraining, but at the start, they do cry foul if you're a Fey Beast Tamer or whatever.

Also, making everything easier, WotC has updated the character builder with a Web of the Spider Queen mode that actually seems to include everything legal to make at this point (including all the material from the Dungeon Survival Guide).

An interesting wrinkle I didn't expect was the extremely limited background selection, which is only the new backgrounds from the book. Basically, the only skills you can make class skills (or get the +2 on) are Arcana, Athletics, Bluff, Dungeoneering, Endurance, Insight, Intimidate, History, Nature, Perception, Religion, and Stealth. It's an odd thing to work around, but not the biggest deal in the world.

EDIT: I have edited my original post to reflect all the current limitations. And by the way, I can now confirm, no Warlord... so yeah, Earth Domain Warpriest just became the main leader available.  
Alright, so I made another try at a kobold build. This one is a thief with a sling, which he can use at range or melee (since he doesn't provoke Opportunity Attacks) and the new kobold encounter power. Not as maneuverable as he would have been with the pre-nerf kobold power, but still has thief tricks to get around the battlefield and keep combat advantage going for sneak attack. Also useful outside of combat, as he is really good with traps.

Please feel free to tear this apart, I am trying to get better at this.
 
Show


====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======


Dietrich, level 3


Kobold, Rogue (Thief)


Barovian Escapee (+2 to Perception)


Theme: Trapsmith


 


FINAL ABILITY SCORES


STR 10, CON 13, DEX 20, INT 14, WIS 10, CHA 8


 


STARTING ABILITY SCORES


STR 10, CON 11, DEX 18, INT 14, WIS 10, CHA 8


 


 


AC: 18 Fort: 12 Ref: 18 Will: 11


HP: 35 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 8


 


TRAINED SKILLS


Acrobatics +11, Athletics +6, Dungeoneering +8, Insight +6, Perception +8, Stealth +11, Thievery +13


 


UNTRAINED SKILLS


Arcana +3, Bluff +0, Diplomacy +0, Endurance +2, Heal +1, History +3, Intimidate +0, Nature +1, Religion +3, Streetwise +0


 


POWERS


Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack


Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack


Trapsmith Attack: Trip the Trap


Kobold Utility: Shifty Maneuver


Rogue Utility: Backstab


Rogue Utility: Ambush Trick


Rogue Utility: Tactical Trick


Kobold Utility 2: Load Slingpot


 


FEATS


Level 1: Sling Expertise


Level 2: Deadeye Slinger


 


ITEMS


Leather Armor x1


Adventurer's Kit


Sling x1


Sling Bullet


Short sword


Trap-Making Kit


====== End ======

always played the "traditional"   elf drawf or human types...so for Essentials i decided id try

Dartack-Kobold thief(outlaw)

14 STR - 16(+2) CON - 18(+2) DEX - 10 INT - 10 WIS - 11 CHA

14 AC - 13 FORT - REF 16 - 10 WILL

Main Skills  Acrobatics +9  Dungeoneering +7  Perception +5 Stealth +9 Streetwise +5 Thievery +11

Shifty Maneuver
Trap Sense
First Strike
Sneak Attack
Weapon Finesse (dex)
+4 Initiative

Shortsword
Shortbow
Ambush Trick
Tactical Trick
Suprise Strike
Backstab

While others charge into combat, Dartak perfers to stand back with his shortbow and take ranged Combat Advantage using Ambush and Tactical Trick  and avoid attention from those who would do him harm.  He has a craving for all things shiney and lusts to have a treasure horde just like his bigger Dragon cousins.
Don't confuse Encounters with a home campaign.  If the owner of the store you're playing at says no, the answer is no regardless of how the DM feels about it.

No store owner wants to be the guy that has to explain to the Wizards rep why they aren't running the Encounters program by the rules.  It's way easier to say "sorry, customer, no Psions" than "sorry, customer, we lost our premier status."
 


     In the store where I play, the owner barely knows we are playing Encounters, much less what class/race/level/etc.  And WOTC has been pretty heavily just  talk about its rules.   Now we have had some DMs who have insisted on WOTC restrictions [one of which is distinctly casual about D&D rules].  So you can not assume you will be held to the listed cases.
I'm making a goblin chef (a scout that dual-weilds cleavers).
Any more builds from what the Character Builder (since it's nice and objective) deems a legal choice?  I understand some people's local stores are more liberal, but in that case it isn't technically what we're looking for.

I have one question, though.  The original post lists the under-mountain races as the "optimal" ones.  Will they be getting particular bonuses?  Is there a reason to consider a Dwarven Slayer as opposed to a Half-Orc one?
The bonus for those races is that Encounters gives out Renown Points, that mostly serve to get you free fortune cards but are also a way to keep track of your success over the length of the game. This season, you get bonus Renown Points this round for playing one of those races. In the past, making the choices that they give points for has also subtly indicated which character types are likely to interact with the story better, and sometimes get little extra gimmes a long the way.

I play in a very strict WotC-led Encounters environment, which is why I put all that stuff in my original post, but obviously the race rewards are not quite as important from a Char-Op standpoint. In play, I have found that going that way helps. Also, I thought an effort to max-out the new races would be interesting.
I almost forgot, I did another build! This one is a Goblin Scout (as suggested by VonLazuli), that tries to maximize that race's mobility (since Goblin's Tactics didn't get nerfed like the Kobold racial power did) so he can spread his dual-wielding damage around wherever it is needed, and get out of trouble in a hurry. He is also pretty self-sufficent, and I think would do well in a small party with fewer class/role bases covered.

Show


====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======


Flitt, level 3


Goblin, Ranger (Scout)


Ranger Wilderness Knacks Option: Ambush Expertise (Ranger)


Ranger Wilderness Knacks Option: Mountain Guide (Ranger)


Two-Weapon Style Option: Flashing Blade Mastery


Cult Survivor (+2 to Athletics)


Theme: Explorer


 


FINAL ABILITY SCORES


STR 11, CON 10, DEX 20, INT 10, WIS 16, CHA 8


 


STARTING ABILITY SCORES


STR 11, CON 10, DEX 18, INT 10, WIS 14, CHA 8


 


 


AC: 19 Fort: 12 Ref: 18 Will: 14


HP: 32 Surges: 7 Surge Value: 8


 


TRAINED SKILLS


Acrobatics +10, Athletics +7, Dungeoneering +9, Perception +9, Stealth +12, Thievery +10


 


UNTRAINED SKILLS


Arcana +1, Bluff +2, Diplomacy +0, Endurance +0, Heal +4, History +1, Insight +4, Intimidate +0, Nature +4, Religion +1, Streetwise +0


 


POWERS


Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack


Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack


Explorer Utility: Surefooted Stride


Goblin Utility: Goblin Tactics


Ranger Utility: Aspect of the Cunning Fox


Ranger Utility: Aspect of the Lurking Spider


Ranger Attack: Dual Weapon Attack


Multiple Class Attack: Power Strike


Ranger Utility 2: Invigorating Stride


 


FEATS


Level 1: Light Blade Expertise


Level 2: Sneak of Shadows


 


ITEMS


Hide Armor x1


Adventurer's Kit


Short sword x1


Rapier x1


====== End ======



As always, critical input is sought and appreciated.

 
always played the "traditional"   elf drawf or human types...so for Essentials i decided id try

Dartack-Kobold thief(outlaw)

14 STR - 16(+2) CON - 18(+2) DEX - 10 INT - 10 WIS - 11 CHA

14 AC - 13 FORT - REF 16 - 10 WILL

Main Skills  Acrobatics +9  Dungeoneering +7  Perception +5 Stealth +9 Streetwise +5 Thievery +11

Shifty Maneuver
Trap Sense
First Strike
Sneak Attack
Weapon Finesse (dex)
+4 Initiative

Shortsword
Shortbow
Ambush Trick
Tactical Trick
Suprise Strike
Backstab

While others charge into combat, Dartak perfers to stand back with his shortbow and take ranged Combat Advantage using Ambush and Tactical Trick  and avoid attention from those who would do him harm.  He has a craving for all things shiney and lusts to have a treasure horde just like his bigger Dragon cousins.



This looks like fun. It seems you were also working to maximize the mobility here, kind of like my own kobold thief build from up-thread (although mine was a slinger not an archer). Do you have any sense of where you're gonna go with it after 1st level?
That's odd, my store doesn't grant RP for choosing one of the mountainous races.  Might be nice just for flavor to do it though.  It looks like my Slayer can't pick up a Gouge though... no Dark Sun weapon in this season I guess.

Hmm. They put up the Renown Awards on the main WotC Encounters page, and they do indicate a small bonus for those races:

  RENOWN POINT AWARDS

































































AccomplishmentFrequencyRP
Complete an encounterSession3
Bring a new playerSession2
Moment of greatness1/chapter2
Revive a dying adventurer ally1/chapter2
Hit for 15+ damage against 1 enemy1/chapter2
Kill 3 minions in 1 attack1/chapter2
Take 50 enemy damage in 1 session1/chapter2
Create your own characterSeason5
Create a character with Character BuilderSeason5
Create a drow, dwarf, goblin, kobold, or svirfneblin characterSeason2
Survive 8+ sessions without dyingSeason5
Maybe our store's website has a typo, but that line is missing from their RP list.  The other 10 are there.  Weird.

In either case, a standard charging Slayer looks pretty beastly, though the best weapon I can seem to find for him is a Greataxe.  Would've loved a Gouge, but the axe would make a dwarven Slayer happy enought with DWT.  I think I'd like to play something with a little more brainpower behind it.

How are Hexblades at these levels?  Can they keep up in terms of utility and damage?

Edit:  Well this is fun, looks like feats are a smaller selection than it seemed.  Dwarven Weapon Training is not available.  Maybe the guys who made this set agreed with the sentiment it was too strong?
Yup sorry, strict parameters for encounters per the OP. 

Heroes (fallen lands/forgotten kingdoms), seasonal sourcebook (into the unknown: the dungeon survival book), Dragon (articles linked to Essentials) and any other 'Essentials' approved. 

DWT is from the PHB.  Last I heard, the PHB is not Essentials-approved (even though it seems like it ought to be.)
Also should mean most charge builds are out since Surprising Charge is from Martial Power.  And so forth.  If your locale allows it though, great.

Still thief builds with tweaked RBA work very well since CA is now incredibly easy to get. 

My view on Hexblades is that Essentials-only ones are fair, but not OP.  Basically the best feat support is for the Fey Pact as Light Blades are about the best supported weapon (even in Essentials) out there. 
Not really enough levels to get the light blade support rolling on Feypact, even starting as a Human.

I love White Wells because the MBA targets Reflex, which makes up for the +2 proficiency vs +3 proficiency on Vanilla Fey Pact.  Radiant can also come in handy for Encounters.  For example...

Moonfire Blade:  +8 vs Reflex, 1d12 + 8 radiant damage.
Eldritch Bolt:  +6 vs Reflex, 1d10 + 8 force damage.
Level 1 Drow Hexblade

====== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======
Drisiml, level 1
Drow, Warlock (Hexblade)
Pact: Fey Pact of the White Well
Darkfire Option: Darkfire Charisma
Theme: Guardian
 
FINAL ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 11, DEX 16, INT 10, WIS 8, CHA 20
 
STARTING ABILITY SCORES
STR 10, CON 11, DEX 14, INT 10, WIS 8, CHA 18
 
 
AC: 17 Fort: 11 Ref: 14 Will: 16
HP: 23 Surges: 6 Surge Value: 5
 
TRAINED SKILLS
Bluff +10, Intimidate +12, Stealth +9, Thievery +7
 
UNTRAINED SKILLS
Acrobatics +2, Arcana +0, Athletics –1, Diplomacy +5, Dungeoneering –1, Endurance –1, Heal –1, History +0, Insight –1, Nature –1, Perception –1, Religion +0, Streetwise +5
 
POWERS
Basic Attack: Melee Basic Attack
Basic Attack: Ranged Basic Attack
Guardian Attack: Guardian's Counter
Drow Racial Power: Darkfire
Warlock Utility: Soul Step
Warlock Attack: Moonfire Blade
Warlock Attack: Well of Light
Warlock Attack 1: Eldritch Bolt
Warlock Attack 1: Mists of Madness
 
FEATS
Level 1: Rod Expertise
 
ITEMS
Sword of the White Well x1
Rod Implement x1
Hide Armor x1
====== End ======


This gives you an incredibly solid MBA in Moonfire Blade, and you've got an RBA option too.  If it's too fragile for your liking, you can drop Dex down to 14 or 15, and shuffle some extra points over into Con.  Background is open, and Guardian for the theme gives you an out of turn MBA.  You can also put in a pretty good performance as the party sneak/lock picker/door opener.

Bargle wrote:
This is CharOp. We not only assume block-of-tofu monsters, but also block-of-tofu DMs.
 

Zelink wrote:
You're already refluffing, why not refluff to something that doesn't suck?
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />I have one question, though.  The original post lists the under-mountain races as the "optimal" ones.  Will they be getting particular bonuses?  Is there a reason to consider a Dwarven Slayer as opposed to a Half-Orc one?



That tasty +5 save bonus vs. poison, perhaps. Underdark means Drow. Drow means spiders. Spider and drow mean poison.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />I have one question, though.  The original post lists the under-mountain races as the "optimal" ones.  Will they be getting particular bonuses?  Is there a reason to consider a Dwarven Slayer as opposed to a Half-Orc one?



That tasty +5 save bonus vs. poison, perhaps. Underdark means Drow. Drow means spiders. Spider and drow mean poison.



Could also mean aberrations (Far Realms) no vulnerabilities and lots of daze, stun, radiant/psychic based vs. Will attacks.

Those are certainly good points!  I think I'm going to wind up going human mage, though.  The amount of control available even at level 1 is a little extreme, and I can still take blaster powers on top of the control ones.
To piggy back on the post, do you guys think radiant damage will be useful (i.e. my friends and I may try to do a baby radiant mafia party: invoker, paladin, cleric)?
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />Could also mean aberrations (Far Realms) no vulnerabilities and lots of daze, stun, radiant/psychic based vs. Will attacks.



And the "resist forced movement" is one of my favorites:

"The grimlock charges you and knocks you into the ooze pit"
"No, he doesn't"
Hm... looks like a Pyromancer would be pretty limited as opposed to an Enchanter.  No fire at-will, but you do get an Encounter and a Daily.  No Tiefling fire bonus feats, either.

I've thought about playing one of the following builds.  They're pretty straight forward, but it seems a little difficult to *not* be straight forward given the parameters of the season:

Human Mage (Enchanter)
Show
 
Mage, Enchanter, Human, Wizard's Apprentice, Longbridge Local (+2 Arcana) 
20 Int, 14 Con
Cantrips: Light, Prestidigitation, Mage Hand
At-Will: Beguiling Strands, Freezing Burst
Encounter: Charm of Misplaced Wrath, Burning Hands
Daily: Phantom Chasm, Sleep
Lv.2 Utility: Shield, Spectral Image (Might have fun RP potential)
Lv.3 Encounter: Shock Sphere, Maze of Mirrors
Feats: Staff Expertise,  War Wizard's Staff, World Serpent's Grasp

Standard lockdown and shove around controller with a little damage.  Between Sleep, Maze of Mirrors, and other members' slowing effects I think WSG should be pretty handy in knocking things over.  I couldn't really find another feat that would be a better fit anyway.


Drow Thief
Show

Thief, Drow, Underdark Envoy, Barovian Escapee (+2 Stealth)
20 Dex, 16 Wis
Weapons: Hand Crossbow & Short Sword
At-Will: Ambush & Tactical Trick
Encounter: Cloud of Darkness
Lv2 Utility: Fleeting Ghost
Feats:  Crossbow Expertise, Weapon Focus (Crossbow)

Pretty straight forward (and previously posted),  stand back and shoot.  With +14 to stealth checks, Fleeting Ghost and Cloud of Darkness, I might be able to get some hidden shenanigans, too.  Between the Underdark Envoy power and Backstab, two shots per encounter will deal 4d6 + 7 damage (+8 at lv.2)  which is pretty respectable at range.

Sadly there is no Deadeye Slinger or Two-Fisted Shooter feats, otherwise that could've made for a little variety.  Still, a slinger thief wouldn't be any worse than a hand crossbow user outside of potentially dealing with enemies in cover.  And really, a thief with a shortbow would technically be better since it's d8 base and Bow Expertise includes a free point of damage against creatures non-adjacent to others.  Of course, it also requires the thief do its best to stay out of skirmisher range and things like Cloud of Darkness, Underdark Envoy power, and Backstab have much shorter effective ranges.  Beyond that, a drow with a shortbow instead of a hand crossbow just feels wrong to me.  Drow Fighting Style or Ruthless Hunter (!) would be nice, but no racial feats for anyone but Kobolds, Goblins, and Undergnomes.


The Half-Orc Slayer and Dwarven Knight are a little too straight-forward to flesh out I think.  I don't really like the leader choices available so I probably won't play one of those.

I made a defender, the much-suggested Dwarf Knight. I stuck straight to the parameters on this one, including the feat limitations on the character builder, though for my game I know I can get away with non-sanctioned feats without having an issue.

Show

===== Created Using Wizards of the Coast D&D Character Builder ======Moritz of Cynidicea, level 3Dwarf, Fighter (Knight)Knight Option: Shield FinesseBlessed of Zargon (Dungeoneering class skill)Theme: Escaped Thrall FINAL ABILITY SCORESSTR 20, CON 16, DEX 11, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 8 STARTING ABILITY SCORESSTR 18, CON 14, DEX 11, INT 10, WIS 10, CHA 8 AC: 21 Fort: 18 Ref: 13 Will: 11HP: 43 Surges: 12 Surge Value: 10 TRAINED SKILLSAthletics +9, Dungeoneering +8, Intimidate +5 UNTRAINED SKILLSAcrobatics –1, Arcana +1, Bluff +0, Diplomacy +0, Endurance +4, Heal +1, History +1, Insight +1, Nature +1, Perception +1, Religion +1, Stealth –1, Streetwise +0, Thievery –1 POWERSBasic Attack: Melee Basic AttackBasic Attack: Ranged Basic AttackEscaped Thrall Utility: My Mind Is My OwnDwarf Racial Power: Dwarven ResilienceFighter Attack: Battle GuardianMultiple Class Utility: Defender AuraFighter Utility: Defend the LineFighter Utility: Poised AssaultMultiple Class Attack: Power StrikeFighter Utility 2: Pass Forward FEATSShield FinesseLevel 1: Bludgeon ExpertiseLevel 2: World Serpent's Grasp ITEMSPlate Armor x1Adventurer's KitWarhammer x1Heavy Shield x1====== End ======
Just went with the usual Defend the Line/World Serpent's Grasp combo, the only other real choices to be made at low-level were theme and background. I went with the Escaped Thrall theme, for the extra defense against charm and psychic effects, and got Dungeoneering from the Blessed of Zargon background since the game will be Underdark-focused. (Also a fun flavor-thing, given that Tom Moldvay's B4: The Lost City is one of my favorite modules of all time).
I think that the most popular Leader build for this Encounters season should be a Svirfneblin Warpriest with the Earth domain and Deepstone Blessing as his initial feat.  That feat gives out a number of temporary hit points equal to Con modifier with each use of Healing Word -- so this combination is by far the best available healer.

 



Staggering Note bard sitting next to an optimized Slayer says hi?

That is a really strong statement to just say "by far the best", mind telling me what you are comparing to? 



The svirfneblin warpriest is the best available for this season's encounter campaign, of course.  The only leader class choices are warpriest and sentinel, with warpriest being the superior healer of the two.  No other legal race has access to a feat like Deepstone Blessing, so that is the best legal combo for healing.  

None of this has anything to do with what you can do in a home campaign -- but I think a svirfneblin cleric remains a solid choice as a healer in a more wide open campaign.